This evening, as we were travelling down the highway, my sister and I were talking about friendship.
She was feeling defeated already, starting a new program at a new school, this being the beginning of her second semester there and she hasn't been one of the people to bond quickly. Groups are forming in her class, and she is being left out.
She feels that this is high school all over again, that her role is predetermined, that she can never be anyone but the one who is "neither liked nor hated", just there in the middle.
This leftover insecurity she feels, of being excluded, it prevents her from trying to get close, from exchanging phone numbers with a girl she clicks with or feeling confident enough to join a conversation. My sister is bright and cheerful, a dependable, loveable, laugh-withable human being who is cherished by those who love her, but she doesn't see that clearly in herself.
This is what I said to her, I said, "You know, you are not determined because of how you felt before. Do you want to know the secret to friendship? It is attention. If somebody says something, and you look at them, make eye contact and smile, they are ten times more likely to say hi to you the next day. If you laugh at a person's joke, if you ask about their health, if you pay attention to that person, and you get along, then you will become friends. People want attention".
That's really all there is to it. You pay attention, you want attention, you give what they need, you receive what you need. Pay attention.
Of course, I have my own hangups, but this is something I can do. I can make friends. And you know, the friends who love me the most, who I stay with, they are the ones who I listened to, and who listen to me. But this is what you need to remember: PEOPLE WANT ATTENTION. It doesn't need to be a courageous act, to listen to somebody, because they want it. If somebody asks you for coffee, do you like them more? I think you do, and it's because somebody has noticed you, they want to see more of you, and that feels good!
So that is what I share today, a reminder for all of us who feel that friendship is a challenge, remember this most valuable thing that you have to offer to a friend, even if it's all you got, it's your attention. Just give it to somebody, and watch your friendship grow.
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